Why Rugby Is Like Opera

That's what you get when you switch your sports writers with your culture writers as the Guardian just did. One former rugby player now sports writer - admittedly French - had an epiphany:

Talking afterwards to the tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who played Cavaradossi, I came to the conclusion that there is a parallel between what you feel during a top-class rugby match and what an artist feels on stage - and it's not just the roar of the crowd. The people who are watching influence how you behave: they were viewing Kaufmann and driving him forward, just as they used to inspire me. I could empathise with Kaufmann's total concentration on the performance, and the way he had to become one with the orchestra, who gave him the power to go beyond the norm. There is a physical aspect to opera, certainly; but more than that, on stage you see what in rugby we call "automatisms" - where you become conditioned to move and act by pure instinct. I had a sense of two completely different worlds coming together.